The mid-year Membership drive runs July-September. The SBCBA provides members with important opportunities for professional education and development, as well as valuable member benefits. The SBCBA and its Sections present regular, affordable and convenient educational programs offering MCLE credits featuring distinguished speakers on issues of interest and concern to legal professionals. Additionally, the SBCBA presents events that promote networking opportunities for members to meet and work with other lawyers and judicial officers on issues of common concern.
If you are getting a divorce, filing for custody, or involved in another family law issue, there are several options that may be available to you:
The Family Law Facilitator (FLF) is located in the Courthouse in both Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. The FLF can assist with court paperwork, explain options regarding your case, and explain legal concepts. They do not provide representation. They also provide free community education through classes, workshops, and walk-in clinics. For more information, please visit their website here or call (805) 882-4660 for the Santa Barbara office and (805) 614-6442 for the Santa Maria office.
The Legal Aid Foundation’s Project Outreach program hosts a volunteer family law attorney once a week (unless the attorney is unavailable). The lawyer appears at the Goleta Valley Community Center on Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm. The attorney answers questions for 15 minutes, on a first come, first served basis. Doors close promptly at 4pm. The Legal Aid Foundation recommends calling the community center at (805) 967-1237 before arrival to ensure that an attorney will be available that day. More information about Project Outreach can be found on their website here.
Low Income Resources
For low income individuals, the Santa Barbara Lawyer Referral Service offers a Modest Means Program. Applicants must complete a Client Financial Statement form, and qualifying applicants may retain an attorney for a $750 fee and $150 per hour. If you would like to apply for the Modest Means program, please contact the Santa Barbara Lawyer Referral Service via telephone at (805) 569-9400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Priced Resources
Family Law attorneys will typically charge around $350 per hour, with retainer fees typically starting at $2000, depending on the complexity of the matter. If you are in need of an attorney, please contact the Santa Barbara Lawyer Referral Service via telephone at (805) 569-9400 or via email at email@example.com.
As an individual facing a legal issue, your first thought might be to immediately consult with an attorney. While in many circumstances this is in fact the best option, attorney fees can be costly and add up quickly, and some legal issues can be resolved without needing representation.
You may not need an attorney if:
You are trying to collect an amount of money under $10,000. Any disputed amount under $10,000, in Santa Barbara County, between you and another individual may be resolved in Small Claims Court. In Small Claims situations, parties will represent themselves, as attorneys are not permitted. You may still consult with an attorney outside of court if you wish, or you may receive free advice from the Small Claims Advisor.
You have simple questions regarding the law or need help filling out paperwork. Free resources such as the Legal Aid Foundation and the courthouse’s Legal Resource Center offer advice and assistance in certain types of legal issues. Please see their websites for more details.
You believe the situation can be mediated. Mediation is common in family law, civil law, and non-legal interpersonal disputes. In most cases, a mediator will cost less than an attorney and, so long as both parties agree to a decision, the issue can be resolved outside of court. Please contact the local Lawyer Referral Service to find a mediator. Also, a list of mediation services located around Santa Barbara County can be found here.
If none of these circumstances apply to you, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney. If you are in need of an attorney, please contact our Lawyer Referral Service by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 805-569-9400. Please keep in mind that our attorneys do not offer free legal advice and it is typical to expect average rates of $350/hr for legal services. However, some cases (personal injury, social security, workers’ compensation, etc.) may be taken on a contingent basis.
Resources for Consumers
Resources for Seniors
If you are in need of an attorney, please contact our Lawyer Referral Service by email at email@example.com or by phone at 805-569-9400. Please keep in mind that our attorneys do not offer free legal advice and it is typical to expect average rates of $350/hr for legal services. However, some cases (personal injury, social security, workers’ compensation, etc.) may be taken on a contingent basis.
If you cannot afford an attorney, there are several local resources that can assist with various legal matters.
The Santa Barbara County Lawyer Referral Service is a free service that will connect a client with an appropriate attorney for a 30 minute consultation. However, the attorney will bill the client per any subsequent arrangements made after this initial meeting. There are a few different ways the attorney may request payment:
It is not uncommon for attorneys to charge fees of $350/hr or more. After the initial meeting, an attorney may set up a retainer agreement between the attorney or firm, and the client as a commitment to carry a case through to conclusion. This retainer fee must be paid before the attorney takes on the case. After the court has made a decision, the attorney will bill the client for time spent working on the case.
If the client wishes to sue an individual or corporation, it is possible to enter a contingency agreement with an attorney. Contingent fees are fees that are only charged if the lawsuit is successful. An attorney who agrees to contingency will take their payment as a percentage of the amount awarded. Most attorneys, however, will only accept cases on contingency if there is a high probability of success. And often, the client may be responsible for the costs incurred in connection with the case, such as expert witness fees.
Pro bono publico, which means “for the public good” in Latin, refers to work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. The Santa Barbara County Lawyer Referral Service does not have any pro bono attorneys.
The method of payment is ultimately a decision the attorney discusses with the Client. Clients can typically expect to pay a retainer and hourly fees.
If you are in need of an attorney, please contact our Lawyer Referral Service by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 805-569-9400. Please keep in mind that our attorneys do not offer free legal advice and it is typical to expect average rates of $350/hr for legal services.
A Minor in Possession, or MIP, is a misdemeanor that can be issued whenever a person under the age of 21 possesses an alcoholic beverage in a public place. In California, a person who is found guilty of this offense may face a fine of $250, or up to 32 hours of community service, for the first offense and a fine of $500, or up to 48 hours of community service, for subsequent offenses. They may also have their driver’s license suspended for up to 1 year. Each subsequent underage conviction can lead to additional one-year suspensions.
If you are charged with an MIP:
1. Speak with an attorney immediately. Remember, you have the right to remain silent during an arrest. If there is a conviction, this will become part of your criminal record.
2. Appear for your court date. Your attorney should advise you on how to proceed.
If you are in need of an attorney, please contact our Lawyer Referral Service by email at email@example.com or by phone at 805-569-9400.
[This post is part one of two blogs on frequently asked immigration questions]
I am a permanent US resident – how do I apply for US citizenship?
If you have been a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization.
You must meet the following requirements:
– be at least 18 years oldm
– have lived within the USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence for at least 3 months prior to the application filing,
– have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months on the 5 most recent years,
– reside in the United States from the date of naturalization application until the time of naturalization,
– be able to read, write, and speak English, and have knowledge of U.S. history and government.
This worksheet from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is helpful to determine your eligibility for naturalization: Eligibility Worksheet
If you’re looking for a lawyer to help out with immigration questions, make sure to contact the Santa Barbara County Bar Association’s Legal Referral Service at (805) 569-5511.
[This post is part two of two blogs on frequently asked immigration questions]
How do I apply for permanent residence based on my employment?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the U.S. government agency that manages lawful immigration to the United States. The USCIS must approve an immigrant application (Form I-140) that is completed by your employer. Your employer must apply for a Permanent Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. The certification shows that your job will not negatively affect the job opportunities or wages of U.S. workers. Getting this certification is not impossible, but may take several months to process.
Then the State Department will give you an immigrant visa number. If you are in the United States, you can apply for permanent resident status when a visa number is available. If you are outside the United States, the local U.S. consulate will let you know when a visa number becomes available.
How do I help a relative obtain a green card/become a permanent resident?
If you are a United States citizen, you may file a permanent resident application for a spouse or children. The application form is called the I-130. If you are a citizen age 21 or older, you may also file an application for parents and siblings.
If your petition is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your relative must wait in line with other relatives of U.S. citizens, based on the date your petition was filed. For spouses, parents, or unmarried children under the age of 21, there is no waiting line.
These additional links to the USCIS website may be helpful:
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: http://www.uscis.gov/i-140
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: http://www.uscis.gov/i-130
If you need help applying for permanent residence, please contact the Santa Barbara Lawyer Referral Service at (805) 569-9400.
A personal injury means you have suffered an injury for which another person or business may be legally responsible for.
What to do after a personal injury:
1. Seek medical attention and follow the doctor’s suggestions for recovery
2. Keep a record of any time you have missed from work
3. If you’re planning on filing a claim, contact the Lawyer Referral Service for help finding an experienced attorney
Common types of Personal injury:
(1) Car accidents: If you were injured in a car accident you may receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and related expenses from your insurance company, or the insurance company of the other driver, depending on who was at fault. The best way to determine who was at fault is to give the claims adjuster a clear explanation of what happened.
Some of the things the claims adjuster may review include: the accident police report, whether you sought medical attention, DUI/DWI charges that may be related to the accident, witness testimonies, photographs of the accident, and records that show the wages you lost due to the accident.
Because of this, it is important to document your injuries and take notes of anything you remember about the accident as soon as possible. You may also return to the accident scene to take pictures of anything that may be evidence, and keep records of all your injuries and their effect on your daily life.
(2) Slip and fall: A slip and fall can happen anywhere, and can lead to an injury claim against a person/entity who may have contributed to the accident. There are generally four “fall” injuries that occur: (1) trip and fall – when there is a foreign object in the pathway, (2) stump and fall – when there is an impediment in the walking surface, (3) step and fall – when there is a hole in the walking path, and (4) slip and fall – when the person slips, usually because of a slick surface.
In order to win a slip and fall case, the injured individual must prove the injury resulted from a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property, AND that the owner of the property knew of the condition and failed to correct it OR the owner did not know of the condition even though there was sufficient time for the dangerous condition to be discovered and fixed.
Additional information on slip and fall cases may be found here.
(3) Dog bites: Dog bites and other animal attacks can result in serious injury. If you have been attacked by an animal make sure you document your injuries through photographs, notes, and medical records. Liability for animal attacks often depends on whether or not the owner of the animal knew about its propensity for violence. In many cases, the owner’s home insurance will cover liability from dog bites. However, this is not true in all cases, and a personal injury lawyer can be helpful to investigate your options further.
Remember, if you’re looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer, please call the Lawyer Referral Service at (805) 569-5511.